Pictures of Nothing (1 Viewer)


"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
Like classical music...where the hell do I start...
Or- I don't get it...Or I avoid it.
This is a great book on abstract art.
Or use the sheets for something else.


What is abstract art good for? What's the use - for us as individuals, or for any society - of pictures of nothing, of paintings and sculptures or prints or drawings that do not seem to show anything except themselves?' In this invigorating account of abstract art since Jackson Pollock, eminent art historian Kirk Varnedoe, the former chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, asks these and other questions as he frankly confronts the uncertainties we may have about the nonrepresentational art produced in the last five decades.

He makes a compelling argument for its history and value, much as E. H. Gombrich tackled representation fifty years ago in Art and Illusion, another landmark A. W. Mellon Lectures volume. Realizing that these lectures might be his final work, Varnedoe conceived of them as a statement of his faith in modern art and as the culminating example of his lucidly pragmatic and philosophical approach to art history.

He delivered the lectures, edited and reproduced here with their illustrations, to overflowing crowds at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in the spring of 2003, just months before his death.With brilliance, passion, and humor, Varnedoe addresses the skeptical attitudes and misunderstandings that we often bring to our experience of abstract art. Resisting grand generalizations, he makes a deliberate and scholarly case for abstraction - showing us that more than just pure looking is necessary to understand the self-made symbolic language of abstract art.

Proceeding decade by decade, he brings alive the history and biography that inform the art while also challenging the received wisdom about distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, and minimalism and pop. The result is a fascinating and ultimately moving tour through a half century of abstract art, concluding with an unforgettable description of one of Varnedoe's favorite works.
Remember trying to recreate a Pollock when I was around ten or eleven; my exact copy of one of his murals surpassed the original.

Assume this shall not be the case but I have to ask, is the book solely made up of blank pages?
To me this sounds like a great book Ponder. But it sounds like it doesn't have the images in the book that are being discussed. Is this correct? I'll go and research it now.

From one reader's review:

"It's the best, least doctrinaire, most convincing case for abstract art that I've ever encountered. Varnedoe supports his case superbly with close readings of dozens of works illustrated throughout the book."

So I imagine there are image examples. :)
I'll take a dive!

If you create an abstraction (this already sounds weird), you are redirecting the looker's point of view, inwards. By subtracting the image and the clues, the viewer gets to use the blank image or monochrome surface as his or her own canvas, a space for reflection.
I had the idea of painting something in a traditional style, a reproduction of a subject that I would, in a second intervention, reproduce, keeping only the essential elements. In the last phase, I'd even subtract the remaining clues from the original subject, such as in a monochrome or even blank surface. Only the idea or the concept would remained to be experienced.

If you take it one step further, you can always just talk about it and leave out the artistic intervention and make it a philosophical subject. Or you can take a walk!
Or write a book about the absence of the subject mentioned on the sticker with the title and along with the price tag.

Is an image necessary? I think that colour and imagery are necessary, to me. They are satisfying one of your given senses. They are pleasing to the eyes, or not. They suggest life, communication, sometimes create an ambience, enhance your perception.

It was not always viewed as necessary to involve you as a viewer, other than to praise the fine skills of an artist. Here we go again with what is art or fine art?

The less clues that you give to suggest to someone how they are supposed to feel or experience something, the sooner you get to what's the most important thing there is to see, which is nothing and how do you feel about it?

You end up interacting directly with what is kept unseen. To me, that is the purpose of the abstraction. A reflection of your own state of mind.

I could be in the ditch, but that is how I view the subject of abstraction.

I enjoy some abstract art but what is there to appreciate in the end, once the point has been made? Perhaps the calm, resulting from the absence of a subject. Perhaps a spot of colour inspiring you a certain mood. Maybe a clinical flawless technical execution of nothingness. Maybe the excitement of not having to use your critical sense or your faculty of judgment.

Even then, millions will step in to question the purpose. It is a love and hate thing.
You are embarking on existentialism Black Swan, the very intention of the Fluxus movement, and that of the avant-garde, conceptual art, which are, in a sense, abstraction taken to the outer limits. The conversation is all about questions. Yoko Ono was doing these very things you suggest and leaving much of the "art" to the viewer's subjective mind, while many just got mad and yelled "bullshit!" Nevertheless, conversation ensued! :)

It's not much different in abstract painting. At least there is something tangible to see. I love abstract art. Always been a fan. What can I say, it moves me like no other representational art can, perhaps because it is so subjective.
I am a fan of abstract art, as well. I think that what I was trying to say, is that it is the same as a non abstract, in essence. It is the same subject without the object.:DD

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